• Report: #1007046
Complaint Review:

Trip Assurance

  • Submitted: Thu, January 31, 2013
  • Updated: Mon, February 11, 2013

  • Reported By: ReRe — Cumming Georgia United States of America
Trip Assurance
475 Central Ave. 3rd Floor St.Petersburg, Florida United States of America

Trip Assurance I filled out a form for a Free Cruise Vacation to the Bahamas, but could not get the brochures without paying a fee upfront. 5th Avenue has the same address 475 Central Ave. 3rd Floor, St.Petersburg, Florida

*REBUTTAL Owner of company: Not True

*Author of original report: Winning the so called Free Trip to the Bahamas


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 I entered this contest by filling out a card, on my way out of a restaurant. A week later I received a call saying I won a Free Cruise Vacation to the Bahamas.

I called and listened to a recording saying there was some cost to this, but still it was a good deal.

So the next morining I called and got a live person, I was told that I had to send $99.98 now to get the brochures and secure the trip or I could lost it.

Then I was going to billed twice at the rate of $69.00 and $119.00 twice for port of call fees.

The brochures arrived a few days later and I noticed that there was not any business cards or a picture of the agent. Just brochures and some made up forms to sign. One could get these brochures at any travel place.

It was then that I decided to check it out and found the someone had the same experience but lost even more than me. Only the business name it was under is  5th Avenue, with the exact same address as Trip Assurance 475 Central Ave. 3rd Floor, St. Petersburg, FL. 33701.

But I live in Georgia, I wonder how they got the card that I filled out so fast.

I called my bank, had to cancel my card and try to get my monies back, or the bank will proceed with fraud.

This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 01/31/2013 08:06 PM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/reports/trip-assurance/stpetersburg-florida-33701/trip-assurance-i-filled-out-a-form-for-a-free-cruise-vacation-to-the-bahamas-but-could-n-1007046. The posting time indicated is Arizona local time. Arizona does not observe daylight savings so the post time may be Mountain or Pacific depending on the time of year.

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#1 REBUTTAL Owner of company

Not True

AUTHOR: Operations Manager - (United States of America)

I am amazed that you continue to intentionally report indisputable misleading and untrue information regarding our vacation.  What you awarded for FREE was a 4 day 3 night hotel stay.  You opted for a round trip cruise for 2 to go along with it, although you were under no obligation to do so.  The entry form you filled out DOES NOT say free cruise, it says Bahamas Vacation for 2. 

In addition, at the bottom where you fill out the date it clearly states that "administrative, port and services fees are not included".  The entry form could not be more clear and forthright!  Unfortunately your recollection of what you filled out and what you listened to on the detailed information recording is cloudy at best, yet you have gone out of your way to hurt a company that offered you 3 free nights in a hotel.  You have also hurt other potential customers that would love to take advantage of the offer, but may now choose not to because of what you have posted. 

You filed your report the very night before you called in for your refund, which was granted immediately.  There's nothing to be surprised at regarding your refund considering on the recording you listened to it stated that you had 30 days to get a refund, you called in the next day and you were granted it.  I still can't imagine why you would file this report in the first place.  you have once again stated in your rebuttal that you listened to it and were aware that there were fees involved for the cruise option.....so why?
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#2 Author of original report

Winning the so called Free Trip to the Bahamas

AUTHOR: ReRe - (United States of America)

  First I would like to say, I was very surprised that I was refunded the $99.98 so fast. That is to your

 company's credit.

  But I was concerned, there are a lot of scams going on.

  Now when I first got the call, I was told I won a Free Cruise to the Bahamas.

  I did call and yes there was a small fee the recording talked about, I almost hung up, but I thought  well  if that is all then I will give it a try.

 The more I looked at it, the more I felt that, I was being nickeled  to death.

 This is not a Free Cruise.  What exactly did I win?  The opportunity to pay for my cruise?

  Here I am sending money to a company I never heard of. And after reading about 5th Avenue

 at the same location, it looked very nefarious.

  If I am going to pay for a cruise, I will go to a travel agent and get all the pricing upfront.

 But if someone says  I Won, usually that means it is paid for!

That is false advertising.

You should not have Free or Win on the entry form, that implies it will be paid by the company or cruise line.

From the one that sailed away.


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#3 UPDATE Employee


AUTHOR: Operations Manager - (United States of America)

TALK ABOUT UNFAIR!  Trip Assurance rarely gets refund requests so therefore it wasnt very difficult to figure out who posted this as there is only one customer from Cumming, GA that has ever requested a refund from us. I personally listened to her conversation, as all inbound calls here are recorded. She stated to my customer service rep today that she never received her package, yet in this posting, which was posted late yesterday, she stated she had the package as she referenced what was both included and not included in it. 

She was then transferred to a manager here at The Corporate Office and my manager immediately processed her refund no questions asked and without hesitation.  Its perfectly ok to have changed your mind regarding your vacation package, but there is no reason to maliciously bash a perfectly good company, especially since all you had to do was wake up the next morning, call us and receive your refund, which took place before I even discovered this unfair posting.

With that being said: As the Operations Manager for Trip Assurance I feel compelled to address this posting regarding my company.  Although the complaint isnt a complaint at all, it is filled with unjustified contradictions!  Your statement is that you listened to a recording to get the details about your vacation, all the costs were disclosed, and you opted to take advantage of the round trip cruise option to go along with your free hotel stay. You stated that what you received from us is exactly what you paid for.  You even mentioned the fact that you didnt even have to pay for everything up front.  You discredited the brochures in the package by stating that you can pick them up at any travel agency. 

I am proud of the vacation package and it far exceeds any industry standard packages Ive seen.  The brochures that you received are our own privately printed brochures, approved specifically for us, by the participating hotels and cruise line, specifically for the promotion and are not available at any travel agency or the participating hotels and cruise line themselves.  You also received a custom made video of the island and all the experiences you may have on Grand Bahama Island, also not available at any travel agency.  You stated you received made up forms.  The made up forms you reference are 2 ply NCR official travel vouchers. 

When you decide to take your trip and book the actual dates, you sign those vouchers; mail them in, and your travel dates get secured, and you forgot to mention that the package is good for 18 months with no blackout dates. The made up forms are the same travel vouchers that get approved every year by The State of Florida with our Seller of Travel license number on them.  You stated that you didnt receive a business card or a picture of the agentthis is more common with a mom-n-pop travel agency.  Between our in house staff, regional managers across the country, independent reps, IT staff, and liaisons on the Island to service our customers, were just not mom-n-pop.

You stated that you had to cancel your credit card? Why? On the recording you listened to it stated that you had a 30 day, from date of purchase, no questions asked, right to cancel.  That same statute set by The State of Florida is also printed in bold font, right by where you would sign your travel vouchers that you received from us.  As a State certified seller of travel here in the state of Florida no matter where our customers are located they are protected by this Florida Statute.  All you had to do was send the package back, blindly if you chose..... and you would have received the same refund no questions asked, which is what happened on your initial and only request.  We have never, not honored, The State of Florida Seller of Travel 30 day right to cancel.

Trip Assurance is not a marketing company; we are a bonded, State Certified Seller of Travel.  We govern the infrastructures of other independent marketing companies so that their customers receive secure travel plans. We hired an independent company to market the name 5th Avenue.  It was a horrible experience, neither the independent company we hired, nor our company, had any idea of the marketing infrastructure it requires to maintain a positive web presence even if you do everything proper and by the book.  After just 2 years we had decided to pull 5th Avenues marketing because of people like you who go onto sites like this.   

Its a shame because the actual amount of customers that received a 5th Avenue package, and that actually traveled, is 9,158 to date. That comes out to an average of 88 people a week that actually traveled. With all the things that can go wrong with traveling these days, flight delays, missing connecting flights, loss of employment, etc., I would challenge you to find 10 of 5th Avenues package customers, who actually took the trip and traveled with us, that had a real complaint about their travel experience.  Sites like this lure people like you to gain and sell advertising.  Sites like this never, and I mean never, substantiate the truth, just post what people say without ever analyzing whether or not it could be true.

To avoid what happened with 5th Avenue from ever happening again, Trip Assurances policy is to only work with marketing companies with long term experience in the travel industry, a dominant web presence along with an established infrastructure that mirrors the creed and missions of Trip Assurance.  If anybody gets contacted by an independent registered agent of Trip Assurance, here are a few things they can count on:

1.      Full 30 day right to cancel from original date of purchase

2.      Regulated by State of Florida Seller of Travel Statute

3.      All fees and terms and conditions regarding vacation packages are fully disclosed on the detailed information recording and in the actual vacation package you receive.

4.      Your vacation will be honored and fulfilled by Trip Assurance

5.      Trip Assurance truly cares about the customers ultimate travel experience.  We worry so you dont have to! 
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